OFGEM’s failure to effectively regulate energy suppliers has added £94 to household energy bills, the spending watchdog has said.
The energy regulator did not tighten requirements for new suppliers until 2019 or for existing suppliers until 2021, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said.
Some 29 energy suppliers have failed since July last year, affecting around four million households.
Customers have been left to pick up the £2.7 billion cost of the failures at an extra £94 per household, a cost that will “very likely increase”, the PAC said in a report.
The committee concluded this was due to “Ofgem’s failure to effectively regulate the energy supplier market”.
It added that the regulator “did not strike the right balance between promoting competition in the energy suppliers market and ensuring energy suppliers were financially resilient”.
It found the price cap was “providing only very limited protection to households from increases in the wholesale price of energy”.
Energy bills are currently frozen at £2,500 for the typical household under the energy price guarantee.
It noted that Ofgem expected prices could “get significantly worse through 2023”.
It comes as of households could be hit with energy bill hikes in April next year as the government discusses raising the price cap.
PAC said the position of vulnerable customers, who already pay higher energy prices, was “unacceptable”.
And it said it was not convinced that Ofgem “yet has the skills and capacity it needs to take a more proactive role in regulating the energy supplier market”.
Rocio Concha, director of policy and advocacy at Which?, said a “long-term” solution to mounting energy costs is clearly necessary.
“While additional support and the energy price cap guarantee provided short-term relief for many households, it is clear we need a long-term solution to soaring bills,” she said.
“The Government and regulator must urgently carry out a wide-ranging review of energy pricing – including the price cap – to build a fair and affordable system for consumers.
“The Government must also develop a programme to rapidly improve the insulation of homes – as this will help to reduce people’s energy costs for years to come.”
What help is already available?
Over six million people with disabilities are now receiving £150 to help with the rising cost of living.
From October 1, all UK households began receiving the £400 energy bills rebate.
The payment will be made up of six discounts between October and March next year.
Households will receive a £66 energy bill discount between this month and November and a discount worth £67 in December, January, February and March.
We’ve listed how the leading energy suppliers plan to pay households the discount and are waiting on others to respond.
If you’re on a credit meter the discount will come off your bills, but if you’re on a prepayment meter you’ll get a voucher.
Check with your supplier to confirm how you’ll receive the cash.
From tomorrow, a £300 one-off “pensioner cost of living payment” will be paid out to eight million households.
Millions of households are in line to get the £150 Warm Home Discount between December and March 2023.
There are plenty of energy grants and schemes open to help you out if you’re struggling.
British Gas has recently confirmed that it’ll pay its most vulnerable customers grants worth £750 to help with sky-high bills.
The British Gas Energy Trust has previously paid struggling households up to £1,500 – and you don’t need to be a British Gas customer to apply for this help.
Ask your supplier what’s on offer and how to apply, or check here:
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